Misha Talavera is Co-Founder & COO of NeoReach, an influencer marketing SaaS platform serving F1000 brands including Honda, Microsoft, and Airbnb. NeoReach started out of Stanford University in 2013 and raised $3.5M in seed funding from Michael Baum (founding-CEO of Splunk).
How did you get to where you are today?
While I want to avoid falling into the Fallacy of the Single Cause, I think my life would have played out very differently if it wasn't for the following 3 events.
- Experiencing many countries, communities, and personalities: I was born in Seattle, moved to Montreal at 3, to Mexico City at 5, to Paris at 6, to the UK at 15, and back to the US at 18. My mother is Russian-American and my dad Mexican-Lebanese. I've travelled to over 50 countries, lived with indigenous communities in Peru, Mexico, China, and struck business deals with companies based in Asia, Europe, and North America. The wide exposure gave me a lot of awareness about my personal habits, the communities I join, and the organizations I build. It also makes me more empathetic to understand people with mindsets and personalities different to mine.
- Getting close to passing: When I was 14 my gut strangled itself, killing about 2 feet of itself. I was shot straight to the ER, had my stomach sliced open, 2 feet of gut chopped off, and stomach stapled back together. Spent the next week in the ER, with copious morphine and IVs oozing through my body, and 3 months recovering at home. I remember the first lucid thought I had 4 or 5 days after the operation: "How fucking lucky am i to live in a time and a place where this is possible, where i am still alive? Gosh I love the humans." An event like this puts the important stuff into perspective, to say the least.
- Psychedelics: I believe that these substances - LSD, psilocybin, ayahuasca, DMT - have incredible potential for our psychological development. This is especially true for people who suffer from depression, anxiety, or PTSD (which I am lucky to not suffer from). I've learned some of the greatest lessons in self-awareness, human relations, and creative drive to build things with psychedelics. A good friend of mine put this incredible site together as a guide for your psychedelics use.
What’s the key to staying focused & motivated?
Two things that feed into each other: good habits and good mindsets.
Habits include: exercise (swimming), sleeping (I sleep 8h-9h a night), socializing (I'm very close to my family and regularly host dinners/soirees/symposiums), meditation (I'm a fan of Wim Hof and of Vipassana).
Mindsets include: Shedding the feeling that I need to do something because of externally imposed requirements and tapping into what I actually want to do. Zooming my perspective out into the cosmos until everything becomes meaningless, then zooming back in to appreciate the illusion of life. Visualizing and viscerally feeling my imminent death, which puts my small-scale issues into perspective - hey I'm still fucking alive.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Nothing is worth suffering over.
How do we get more women leaders?
At a high-level: Share the stories of existing women leaders and grow women leader groups. Socially crack down on misogyny and sexism, hard, especially in college and the workplace. Let little girls do what they want. Empower them to take on the world, don't shield them from the world.